How-To Geek

Disable Notification Balloons in XP

If you are annoyed with Windows popping up a balloon notification telling you things you already know every time you turn on your machine, here is a quick tip on completely disabling them.  (Note this requires a registry modification so be sure to back up your registry before making any changes.)

You should note that this will disable all balloon notifications, so proceed with caution.

Click on Start \ Run and type in regedit

Now we will navigate to this path in your registry.



On the right pane right click on an open area and choose New \ DWORD Value  


You will see New Value #1.  Change this to EnableBalloonTips.


Next double click the new registry entry you created.  In the Value Data field set it to 0 (zero).  Make sure Hexadecimal is selected under Base.  Click OK.

Finally restart your system and enjoy the clean boot up with no balloons popping up at you.

To remove this registry hack, just delete the registry key that you created.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 05/18/07

Comments (33)

  1. Cody

    Shouldn’t it be HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced?

  2. mysticgeek

    Cody your exactly correct! See what sleep deprivation does! lol … Thanks for pointing that out. The adjustments have been made. Good eye!

  3. jambarama

    Freaking nice. That “unused desktop icons” balloon tip form my wife’s icons has almost led me to uxoricide. Thanks buckets, great as usual!

  4. jambarama

    Sorry, I meant *from* my wife’s icons, not form. And yes I’ve been waiting for a long time to be able to use the word uxoricide.

  5. OJ


    Isn’t this a system-wide setting that will turn off balloon tips for all applications for the current user? If you do this you won’t see any balloons at all?

    Also, you don’t need to restart your machine for the setting to take effect, you just need to restart the explorer.exe process.


  6. mysticgeek

    OJ your are correct it does turn off all balloon notifications for current user.

  7. Adipolle

    This will disable all baloons-not a good idea.In stead of mucking around with the registry, here’s a simpler approach:
    Just stop the automatic updates service and set it to manual from automatic. You can also disable the automatic updates service in the services control manager. When you eventually reboot, re-enable it or change it back to “Automatic”.

  8. TJmurph

    Is there any way to just disablethese ballons in a specific app or a specific error lIke say “Outlook is trying to retreive data from the exchange server”

  9. TLR

    I ask June 1 TJmurph’s question. I have a large balloon labeled as “System Alert!”. It’s seems to be a notification created by spyware or malware. I’ve cleaned my system but this remains. If I click on it accidently, it opens an antivirus website. How do I delete just this one notification?

  10. Michael

    Hi TLR

    That “balloon alert” is possibly created by the mysor virus. Try AVG It removed it for one of my clients.

  11. brad

    PLEASE HELP… I’ve followed this advice perfectly, and it doesn’t work for me :- (

    I even tried using “Free WIndow Registry Repair”, just in case I messed something up… Do you have any idea why it wouldn’t work? It’s in the right place, I spelled everything correctly, value set at 0… restarted, log-out log-in… and no change… It’s really upsetting me, switching from a Mac to a PC, I can’t stand the balloons…. They’re very distracting… Disrespectful even…

    I’m on a Dell XPS400

    What could be stopping this from working?? Do I need to re-install Windows XP, and have the balloon hack be the very first thing I do. It’s worth that much to me… But I’d hate to have to go through all that…

    * I’ve also scanned for virus (PC Chillin) and I’m all clean… I’ve hit a dead end…

  12. Michael

    Brad, have you tried AVG?

  13. brad

    No, I haven’t tried AVG… Would the free version be good enough or would I need the “Internet Security” deal? Do you find this better than PC Chillin? I already have a subscription with that… Thanks for your help! Appreciate it!

  14. Michael

    AVG Free did it previously for one of my clients. Uninstall PC-Cillin, install AVG free. Scan. After removing virus, reboot, new scan. If it finds more repeat process. Then uninstall AVG and re-install PC-Cillin.

    If product x is 99% effective at detecting viruses out of 120 000 viruses that leaves 1200 viruses not detected. By using product y maybe their product pick up some of those missed originally. Sort of a second opinion.

    I have great doubt in my mind if there are any product available which are 99% effective!! That’s why I periodically scan my pc with 5 different AV’s.

  15. Danadd

    In case someone doesn’t want to go into their registry, here’s a way to JUST get rid of the *&#@ ‘unused icons’ bs:
    Display Properties >
    Desktop tab >
    > Customize the Desktop
    > turn off the ‘run desktop cleanup wizard every 60 days’ checkbox.

  16. TLR

    Resolved! My security software finally caught on to my “System Alert!” problem. I updated my security soft many times before it worked. This reinforced my concerns about system security and I learned a little. Thanks!

  17. John

    This method worked for disabling the balloons, but the sound is still there! My problem was with a recurring balloon, which is gone but i still get the “pop” every couple seconds. Is there any way to fix this?

  18. The Master

    Turn the sounds off.

  19. Mayo

    This doesn’t work for I.E 7 ballons that annoyingly blink about when the mouse is over a text input area. I’ve tried I.E settings, this reg tip and others, but none of them work.
    How do downgrade I.E ?

  20. Gary

    did this edit and fixes the balloon thing whitch I’m extreamly happy about but now I”m having another issue. I have my start bar to auto hide so its off the screen until I move my mouse to the bottom. Now when I relog back in after going into standby or hibernation my laptop will reconnect back to my router and I get no balloon whitch I’m happy about. But now I have to click on the wireless icon in the system try and bring up the wireless network pannel just for the start bar to go back into auto hide any input on this I’m totaly stumped and would like to fix it.

  21. daveydave

    @mayo, not being facetious but..firefox?

  22. Dan

    To make it far simpler, just download the Tweak UI Powertoy:

  23. redgrl

    I used two VBS scripts recommended from PC World Tips & Tweaks (that often mentions this site and is how I found it!).

    For disabling Balloon Tips I used the following script instead of doing all those registry edits:

    Note: following the instructions regarding using “Save As Target” in IE or if in FF use the FF IE Tab Add on to switch to the IE engine and you’ll be able to get to the “Save As Target” option.

    Here’s the PC World link but it just sends you to the one listed above.,71416/description.html

    For disabling the Unused Desktop Icons thingy that is soooo annoying… (just cuz I haven’t used ’em in awhile doesn’t mean I don’t want ’em) in Windows I used this Script:,71423/description.html

    Actually I keep a pretty clean desktop.. I hate messy desktops with 18 Gazillion icons but it’s still a cool script.

  24. rony

    please, can you help me how to change the expiration date of access 2003 database. We have an access database but already expired and we cannot use it anymore is there any other option to disable expiration or to change the database expiration. My friend who created this access database went home for final exit and i have no contact him.

  25. Tom Williams

    worked perfectly, no more annoying balloons. thanks guys

  26. JaredGuess


    Alot of you are probably wanting to disable this because of having the firewall turned off. If that is the case.. don’t mess with the registry. Do the following, which is designed in windows.

    To turn off Security Center alerts
    Click Start and then click Control Panel.
    Double-click Security Center.
    In the Security Center, under Resources, click Change the way Security Center alerts me.
    In the Alert Settings dialog box, clear the Firewall, Automatic Updates, or Virus Protection check boxes, and then click OK.

    Hope that helps anyone who wants the firewall ‘off’ without a notification telling them it is off.

    Take Care,


  27. Thomachan
  28. chint2

    Hi All,

    Perhaps not related, but i have a similar question. How do you disable windows bring into the forefront an application that requires your attention. I have countlessly hit the space bar or enter key when an application wants my attention, while i was typing in another application.

    I would prefer the application to just blink in the task bar so that i can complete what i am doing and then address the issue.

    Please help.
    Thanks in advance!

  29. Adrian

    Great stuff Gents..

    No more stupid balloon tips

  30. Gonzo Palermo Grande Oki

    this is just half way – if you autohide your taskbar, ballon tips are away, but the taskbar will still restore from autohide! STUPID IDIOTS!

  31. El Tejon

    It’s so refreshing to see that someone named themselves Gonzo Palermo Grande Oki just so they could call people they don’t know names. What a man.

    But, we all know who is really stupid and idiotic, don’t we?


  32. Robert Balch

    iI put in the registry fix and it worked the first time I rebootted, but every few boots or after installing any thing or running MSConfig, the balloon tips return and when I look in the registry, some process has changed EnaIbleBalloonTips to a 1. I modify it back to zero, but it won’t stay zero. Is there a system process that I can disable to keep it off?

  33. me

    mysticgeek you’re in need of some remedial English classes.

More Articles You Might Like

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!